The Art of Spring


“The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.

All of our ideas come from the natural world: trees=umbrellas.


Ethics are no more a part of poetry than they are of painting.

As the reason destroys, the poet must create.

The exquisite environment of fact. The final poem will be the poem of fact in the language of fact. But it will be the poem of fact not realized before.”

–from “Adagia,” Opus Posthumous by Wallace Stevens



Reality being too thorny for my great personality,

–I found myself nevertheless at my lady’s, an enor-
mous gray-blue bird soaring toward the moldings of
the ceiling and trailing my wings through the shad-
ows of the evening.

At the foot of the canopy supporting her adored
gems and her physical masterpieces, I was a great
bear with violet gums, fur hoary with sorrow, eyes
on the silver and crystal of the consoles.

Everything became shadow and ardent aquarium.

In the morning,–bellicose dawn of June,–a
donkey, I rushed into the fields, braying and bran-
dishing my grievance, until the Sabine women of the
suburbs came and threw themselves on my neck.

–from Illuminations and Other Prose Poems by Arthur Rimbaud (translated by Louise Varese)

Responses to “The Art of Spring”

  1. Lissa Says:
    March 30th, 2006 at 11:36 pm eI don’t know where I first saw that, but I have had that first paragraph taped into the inside of a notebook for years! I did not know the source, though. I mean, I knew it was WS, but did not know “Adagia,” Opus Posthumous. Enjoyed the Rimbaud, too!


  2. Patry Says:
    April 4th, 2006 at 3:08 am eI will never think of umbrellas in quite the same way. From now on, I’m only going to use
    green ones!


AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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